Remember that election we just had, where the country voted overwhelmingly against President Bush’s Iraq war and the party that made it happen?
Forget vox populi, because it looks like, rather than beginning to wind down American involvement in Iraq, we are headed for escalation. That’s why Robert Gates is out there saying we “aren’t winning” the war. That’s what John McCain has been urging for some time. That’s what President Bush will welcome, as a way of making sure that the war drags its miserableness out long enough for him to pass the buck to his successor. And now it seems the escalation crowd has some Democratic support, in the person of the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Silvestre Reyes.
Reyes is saying he supports sending an additional 20,000 to 30,000 troops to Iraq because he wants to “take out the militias.” I think he needs to go back and look at the intelligence again, because, as far as I’ve been able to tell, those “militias” pretty much are the current Iraqi government. Bush recently welcomed the de facto leader of one of the largest of the Shiite militia factions to the White House.
The presence of 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq for close to four years now has done little to curtail the power and influence of these militias. Why would Reyes or anyone else think that adding 20-30,000 more would make any difference at this late stage of the game? You might be able to talk about “taking out the militias” if you were willing to, say, consider doubling the size of the American force in Iraq — a purely theoretical exercise, since we don’t have the troops. But modest increases in troop commitment are all about domestic U.S. politics; they’re not going to change the course of events.
Reyes seems to be engaging in the same sort of dangerous combination of wishful thinking and strategic confusion that got us into the Iraq mess in the first place. We thought we’d voted for change a month ago, but who’d have guessed Washington would interpret “change” to mean “send in more troops”?
[tags]iraq, militias, silvestre reyes[/tags]
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